Earlier this week, Speed Skating Canada introduced the athletes who have been named to the Long Track National Teams for 2015-2016.
This year, in alignment with the new Elite Athletes Pathway skaters have been grouped together in three new categories: the Elite, Senior and Development/NextGen pools. The Elite and Senior pools have been created based on the athletes' performances at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships or identified by Speed Skating Canada. The Development/NextGen pool includes younger athletes who took part in the 2015 World Junior Championships or were identified by Speed Skating Canada, based on the High Performance Athlete Development system instituted in accordance with the Own the Podium model, to which Speed Skating Canada adjusted its long track national program this year.
Among the 15-athlete Development/NextGen Pool are members of last year's Junior National Team, such as Alexandre Déry, Ben Donnelly, Christopher Fiola, Alex Ruel-Garvey and Isabelle Weidemann. Weidemann also beat the Canadian Women's Junior 5000m record last March.
Donnelly & Weidemann are joined by Dan Carruthers, Braden Clouthier, Sam Deckert, Jacob Graham & Jordan Henkelman as Oval graduates from last season selected for this year's national Development/Next Gen team
The Long Track team will be led by the athletes who won medals at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships, i.e. Laurent Dubreuil (bronze in the 500m race), Ivanie Blondin (silver in the Mass Start), Jordan Belchos, Ted-Jan Bloemen and Denny Morrison (silver in the men’s Team Pursuit). Morrison, four-time Olympic medalist, also won a silver medal in the 1500m race.
Morrison is gradually returning to full training following his motorcycle accident, last May.
Blondin and Morrison were also crowned 2014-2015 World Cups Champions in the Mass Start and 1500m events respectively, while Dubreuil finished second in the 500m distance.
Gilmore Junio, Josie Spence and Kali Christ, who also represented Canada at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships, are the other athletes in the Elite pool.
2014 Olympian William Dutton makes comeback
There are 13 skaters in the Senior Pool, including Vincent de Haître, Jessica Gregg, Marsha Hudey, Alec Janssens, Richard MacLennan, Heather McLean and Robert Watson, who also all skated at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships. Also in that group are Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, Kaylin Irvine, Alexandre St-Jean, Brianne Tutt, Stefan Waples and William Dutton.
Dutton has reversed his decision to retire, as he had announced initially last June.
“The arrival of Kevin Crockett as part of the coaching staff, and especially for the sprint events, was a large part of my decision to return. I'm very excited to work with him,” explained Dutton. “I have a new outlook on my athletic career and I have very clear goals, which lead to a clear mindset. I think it will be a good season and I want to thank my wonderful teammates for welcoming me back with open arms.”
These athletes will train at the National Centres at the Olympic Oval in Calgary or at the Gaétan-Boucher Oval in Quebec City, while receiving complete specialized services as well as carding support from Sport Canada, or a program funded by Speed Skating Canada.
Members of the Elite Pool
BELCHOS, Jordan (Markham, ON)
BLOEMEN, Ted-Jan (Calgary, AB)
BLONDIN, Ivanie (Ottawa, ON)
CHRIST, Kali (Regina, SK)
DUBREUIL, Laurent (Lévis, Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon borough, QC)
JUNIO, Gilmore (Calgary, AB)
MORRISON, Denny (Fort St. John, B.C.)
SPENCE, Josie (Kamloops, B.C.)
Members of the Senior Pool
BOISVERT-LACROIX, Alex (Sherbrooke, QC)
De HAÎTRE, Vincent (Cumberland, ON)
DUTTON, William (Humboldt, SK)
GREGG, Jessica (Edmonton, AB)
HUDEY, Marsha (White City, SK)
IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB)
JANSSENS, Alec (Chilliwack, B.C.)
MacLENNAN, Richard (Sault Ste. Marie, ON)
McLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB)
ST-JEAN, Alexandre (Québec, QC)
TUTT, Brianne (Airdrie, AB)
WAPLES, Stefan (Winnipeg, MB)
WATSON, Robert (Whitby, ON)
Members of the Development/NextGen Team
CARRUTHERS, Dan (Cambridge, ON)
CHOI, Mikhail (Calgary, ON)
CLOUTHIER, Braden (Dawson Creek, B.C.)
DECKERT, Sam (Winnipeg, MB)
DÉRY, Alexandre (Lévis, Saint-Jean-Chrysostome borough, QC)
DONNELLY, Ben (Oshawa, ON)
DUBREUIL, Daniel (Lévis, Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon borough, QC)
FIOLA, Christopher (Montréal, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, QC)
GRAHAM, Jacob (Dawson Creek, B.C.)
HANLY, Kate (Calgary, AB)
HENKELMAN, Jordan (Calgary, AB)
HUNTER, Cooper (De Winton, AB)
IANCULESCU, Alexandra (Toronto, ON)
RUEL-GARVEY, Alex (Calgary, AB)
WEIDEMANN, Isabelle (Ottawa, ON)
For more information be sure to log on to the Speed Skating Canada website at: www.speedskating.ca